oldschoolfrp: The first time I swam with barra…


The first time I swam with barracuda in the wild I thought about Gygax’s Monster Manual listing, when the correct response should be to hum the opening base riff of the Heart song.  While Gygax noted that their prey would be “relatively small”, their inclusion in the 1977 Monster Manual implied that regular, non-mutant, non-fantastic barracuda are likely to be a serious danger to humans.  In real life they are like any other wild animal that would prefer to eat something that fits in its mouth, but which occasionally gets confused by a foot in murky water or zooms up to investigate the glint of a dive mask.

These days I tend to avoid using any normal real-world animal as a “monster” in D&D, and instead reach for a fantasy variant – something like the AD&D giant gar stats for a prehistoric-sized predatory fish instead of a normal barracuda, giant snake instead of regular snake, warg instead of wolf, owlbear instead of black or grizzly.